New Year’s Rainbow Diet

New Year’s Resolutions often lead us to a new diet.  Here is my recommendation for your 2012 New Year eating plan:  The Rainbow Diet.  Its only requirement is that weekly you eat all colors of fruits and vegetables:  red, yellow & orange, green, and blue & purple.  CAUTION:  Rainbow colors from artificially colored breakfast cereals and ‘fruit’ gummies do not count!    

Color is an indicator of the nutritional content, specifically, the phytonutrients that are unique to brightly colored fruits and vegetables.  Phytonutrients offer a variety of health benefits including protection from heart disease and cancer.  Many of these phytonutrients work as antioxidants in the body, protecting cells from damage.  It is estimated that there are over 900 phytochemicals and more are being discovered all the time.  Following the Rainbow Diet will ensure you receive the benefits of these phytonutrients.  The USDA’s ChooseMyPlate recommends you make half of your plate filled with fruits and vegetables everyday.  This list will help you incorporate a variety of colors into your 2012 diet and beyond:

Red:  tomatoes, watermelon, pink grapefruit, strawberries, raspberries, red grapes, red apples, pomegranates, cherries, red potatoes, red peppers, beets, red cabbage.  

Yellow & Orange:  butternut/winter/yellow squash, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, yellow and orange peppers, oranges, mangoes, apricots, cantaloupe, nectarines, oranges, peaches, pears, pineapple. 

Green:  spinach, kale, zucchini, brussels sprouts, green beans, broccoli, green pepper, cucumbers, asparagus, avocados, green grapes, green apples, kiwi, honeydew melon

Blue & Purple:  blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants, purple grapes, eggplant, plums, prunes

Many of the recipes I will post will help you include more colors into your weekly meal plan.  Here’s to a healthy and colorful New Year!!

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